Daily News Briefs, October 2, 2023

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North Carolina Turnpike Shows Off Triangle Expressway Extension Progress

WRAL gets a tour of the Complete NC 540 project’s first phase led by North Carolina Turnpike Authority Deputy Chief Engineer Dennis Jernigan. He looks ahead excitedly to next year’s opening of another 18 miles of “Triangle Expressway” after four years of work. “You can actually almost drive in a lot of places between the intersecting roadways, so we are close enough we can feel it,” Jernigan says. The article notes that all but one of the roads and bridges that cross the tollway extension are already open and crews are erecting the “massive new interchange at I-40 and U.S. Highway 70 near Garner. By the year 2040, about 200,000 vehicles are expected to drive through the area each day.” Last week, the state took a major step forward on the project’s second and final phase by awarding a nearly $450 million contract to a Flatiron-Fred Smith Company joint venture. That contract covers construction of six of the last 10 miles of a tollway that is scheduled to encircle metro Raleigh-Durham by 2028.

Flatiron NC 540 (Triangle Expressway) North Carolina North Carolina Department of Transportation (NCDOT) North Carolina Turnpike Authority

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Michigan Will Not Restart Blue Water Bridge Cash Collection

Michigan DOT announced Friday that Blue Water Bridge toll collection will remain cashless on a permanent basis. Cash payments haven’t been accepted on the Canada-bound span since a temporary halt was ordered in 2020 as a COVID-19 safety measure. MDOT has decided to make the change permanent because “the cashless environment has benefited tolling operations. Staff have reported a reduction in congestion and emissions, and increased efficiency.” It also mentioned its increased support for non-cash payment, and it noted that over half the nation’s tolling operations are now cashless. MDOT currently accepts payments through its contactless, RFID-based EDGE pass program and “[s]ingle crossing payment at the toll booth with a credit/debit card or Apple/Google Pay.” As an additional policy change, MDOT stated it will stop accepting checks, money orders and cashier’s checks effective January 1, 2024. Account holders have been allowed to use checks to add funds to their pre-paid accounts, but “[t]he recent addition of new tolling software eliminates that need and allows account holders to place a credit or debit card on file and supports auto re-bill to help them more seamlessly manage their account,” the department stated. (TRN inserted a link in quoted text.)

The Times-Herald covers MDOT’s announcement.

Canada ETC Systems Federal Bridge Corporation Ltd. (Canada) Michigan Michigan Department of Transportation (MDOT) Ontario

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Blue Water Bridge Rehabilitation Project Completed Ahead Of Schedule

The Federal Bridge Corporation LTD (FBCL) “proudly” announced the early completion of a Blue Water Bridge rehabilitation project on the US-bound span that began in July and required rerouting of all traffic to the Canada-bound span (the “second bridge”). “Initially slated for an October 5 finish, both spans will be fully operational starting October 3, 2023, ahead of schedule. The FBCL’s steadfast commitment to maintaining safe and efficient international crossings has once again been reaffirmed with this project’s successful early completion,” a news release stated. The scope of work performed included strengthening cross beams, replacing bearings, replacing expansion joints, making concrete deck repairs, waterproofing the deck and repaving the deck surface.

Canada Federal Bridge Corporation Ltd. (Canada) Highway and Bridge Maintenance Michigan Michigan Department of Transportation (MDOT) Ontario

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These are just some of the toll industry developments TRN is following.

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